The auction season thus far has been truly exceptional. Record breaking sales and artist records are being made all over the place at Christie’s and Sotheby’s due to the rarity of the works being offered and those buyers who covet them. “Super-trophies” are what these rare works with strong provenance are known as, and the “Trophy hunters” are all too happy to buy them up which is great news for the art market and those invested in it through their own purchases of fine art.
One of four versions of Edvard Munch’s angst-filled pastel on board masterpiece "The Scream" (1895) sold for a record $119,922,500 at Sotheby’s, becoming the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction and the first to break the $100 million mark. A record breaking Mark Rothko oil on canvas, “Orange, Red, Yellow” (1961) sold for $86,882,500 from Christie’s Postwar and Contemporary Art evening sale in which 11 artist records were set while 40 of the 56 lots sold made over a million dollars. An Alexander Calder sculpture “Lily of Force” (1945) went for $18,562,500.
In total, the Postwar and Contemporary Art evening sale at Christie’s delivered $388,488,000, while Sotheby’s posted a $266.6 million evening Contemporary Sale this week, and a $330,568,500 result for their Impressionist and Modern sale last week.
Five artist records were set in the Sotheby’s Contemporary Sale. Francis Bacon’s ferociously distorted “Figure writing Reflected in a Mirror” (1976) and Roy Lichtenstein’s pretty, “Sleeping Girl” (1964) both sold for $44,882,500. While in the Impressionist and Modern Sale, Edgar Degas’s sublime “Danseuse au Repos” (1879), sold for $37 million.